Alleged serial rapist facing 14 counts left victim with broken leg in ditch for days: Riverside County DA

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A man being described as a serial rapist has been charged with 14 counts, including attempted murder, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Jose Manuel Garcia, 36, was charged with physically and/or sexually assaulting six women in the Coachella Valley area from September 2020 to August 2021, officials said.

Three victims were allegedly strangled to unconsciousness and in two incidents, the victims were struck by Garcia’s pickup.

In one of those incidents, the victim suffered a broken leg and was “left injured in a ditch in Thermal for two-and-a-half days” before she was found and treated, DA Mike Hestrin said during a news conference Friday.

Garcia apparently may have known some of the victims, but others he allegedly randomly approached in places where they were alone.

Garcia was identified after a long investigation by the Indio Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department into several violent sexual assaults. He was arrested on Oct. 5 and is being held in custody without bail.

He faces attempted murder charges, along with forcible rape, kidnapping, attempted kidnapping and other sex-related counts.

The DA’s office added charges against Garcia involving two additional victims, bringing the total to six, officials explained.

“This is a heinous crime and bad acts, but this is a good day,” Indio police Assistant Chief Christopher C. Shaefer said during the news conference. “It brings forth charges on this individual who is in custody and off the street.”

Garcia is a Mexican national, but was living in Coachella. He also previously lived in the Bakersfield area, officials said.

Because of the number of victims Garcia allegedly attacked, and because he lived outside of the Coachella Valley, investigators believe he may have victimized more people.

Investigators on Friday released a mug shot of Garcia, as well as photos of vehicles he allegedly used in the attacks.

Anyone with additional information about Garcia, or believes they may have been victimized by him, is encouraged to call DA Investigator Claudia Herrera at 760-863-7809 or claudiaherrera@rivcoda.org.

Garcia is set to appear in court Friday. He faces life in prison if convicted as charged.

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